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The best thing that music can do is create awareness.
 

Brian Clifton (°Antwerp 1962 as Dirk Thyssens), later adopted as Dirk Pilaet, is a Belgian filmcomposer with international recognition. As an autodidact and multi-instrumentalist Brian has contributed his talents to feature film and telefilm soundtracks, but also to tv-series, short films, musicals, theatre productions, commercials and game soundtracks.

During his teens, Brian was advised by his neighbour, classical composer & piano virtuoso/pedagogue Marinus De Jong, to start private studies with composer Luc Van Hove for piano & harmony. But he still considers himself mainly a self-taught composer on piano/keyboards, percussion, guitar and conducting. Very similar, so he finds, to his famous colleagues Vangelis and Hans Zimmer: "The one thing in music that nobody can teach you is how to write a catchy melody".

During the early 80's Brian tried his first professional moves in Belgium and their -then monopolistic- national broadcast company Belgian Radio & Television (BRT). But it was in London where he and his then partner and arranger Steve Willaert got the opportunity to work together with legendary Beatlesproducer Sir George Martin on the soundtrack for The Mission. An unstable situation at Goldcrest made an end at that opportunity and music history was written by Brian's mentor, Ennio Morricone. However, it was The Mission's oscar-winning producer Lord David Puttnam, at that time also the new CEO of Hollywood based Columbia Pictures (today Sony Pictures), who advised Clifton to make the big move to Los Angeles to further develop his craft, where he stayed for over a decade. There his path crossed those of his heroes resulting in some interesting lessons and fine anecdotes to tell: Ennio Morricone, Jerry Goldsmith, Henry Mancini, Bill Conti, Bruce Broughton and one hilarious experience with John Barry.

Influenced by his favorite classical composers Debussy, Ravel & Stravinsky, Clifton developed a personal style of mostly rhythmical cadences alongside strong melodic developments. Focused on the golden rule of 'practice makes perfect' Brian trained himself in creating music to picture and he, too, experienced that "most composers start by writing film music instead of writing music for the film", which is an important lesson for any film composer.

Blinker co-producer Rudi Van den Bossche brought Clifton in contact with popular youth author Marc de Bel. Both soon found a parallel enthusiasm to combine de Bel's writing with Clifton's drama scoring which led to numerous collaborations and artistic venues. Among which the first Flemish youth rock-musical 'The Kriegels', directed by actrice/director Lulu Aertgeerts, who basically opened Clifton's ears for musicals and for writing songs with a dramatic stage function.

Recently Brian's music was appreciated in Holland for the feature film Bobby & De Geestenjagers, which is now in pre-production for a Hollywood remake. His most popular tune however, may very well be the one which was not written for the movies but for the world's most popular sport, soccer: his JupilerProLeague Hymne, a grand symphonic Olympic sounding theme, starts off every premiere league soccer game in Belgium, since 2011. For his Anthem for one of Belgium's leading soccer teams, Racing Genk, he reached back to his experience as a rock drummer for a catchy shuffle-rock singalong, with taylor-made lyrics by his lyricist, John Hoelen.

Most current is his soundtrack for the Hollywood feature Everything But A Man, directed by Nnegest Likké, which reunited him with his Bird Of Prey (featuring Jennifer Tilly, Richard Chamberlain & Lesley Ann Warren) producer Steven J. Wolfe.

Brian Clifton's versatility ("in accordance with my adhd", he likes to joke) allows him, or better, constantly seduces him to experiment with various styles and musical directions. At the same time, whenever he's allowed a free hand, some features and characteristics all his own, keep jumping out: mostly epic even when intimate, catchy melodic, rhythmic, and always a combination of acoustic orchestration with electronics.

In recent years Brian has also become a steady guest-lecturer at the Brussels film school RITCS -School of Arts.